Joan continues Christmas fast

ALONG with carols and presents, overeating is one of the traditions at Christmas.

Naomi Cassidy

ALONG with carols and presents, overeating is one of the traditions at Christmas.

However this charitable grandmother decided not only to selflessly give up her Christmas meal for the 25th year in a row but also to spend the day away from her family as she collected money for worthy causes in Christchurch Park, Ipswich.

As passer bys walked through the park to walk off their turkey dinner, Joan Kerr sat on a bench outside Christchurch Mansion with a collection bucket and went hungry, having started the 24-hour fast at midnight on Christmas Day. She plans to carry on her annual fast until everyone around the world can eat on the special day.

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She is still totting up the final amount, which will be divided between Oxfam and Medical Foundation for Treatment of Torture Victims.

Although she is now used to fasting on the day where most others are strategically planning how much food they can eat, this was the first time she has done it in public for charity.

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She said: “I have fasted every year since 1983. I choose to do it on that day because that is when everyone usually eats more. I will do it until the whole world is able to eat on that day.

“This was the first time I have done it in public. There was one year when I actually made the Christmas meal and could not eat it - that was hard.

“It is difficult but I know I can eat the next day but some other people around the world can't.”

Mrs Kerr, who lives in West Suffolk but has family in Ipswich, made international headlines in the 80s when she decided to sell all the contents of her house and give the money to Oxfam, which made £3,000.

She stayed at the park from 9.15am until it closed at 4pm, and spent the day reading and knitting a scarf.

If you want to sponsor her, visit

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